Should SC Embrace Those Whom Society Shuns?

December 18, 2021 

At dawn he (Jesus) appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard (him) began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Evangelist John in New Testament Ch 8/2-11. 

Twenty-one centuries from the time of Jesus, the Supreme Court of India has gone several steps ahead of the Biblical account through its recent judgment. But, first, the facts. 

According to media reports, thousands of female sex workers (FSWs) in each of the seven states going into assembly elections in 2022 may become voters as the Supreme Court on December 14, 2021 directed all states and Union territories to immediately issue voter and ration cards to them without revealing their profession to avoid social stigma. A bench of Justices L N Rao, BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna in its order said, “The Centre, states and UTs as well as other authorities are directed to commence issuance of ration cards and voter cards immediately to sex workers. The seven states going to polls in 2022 are UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. 

The bench said, “There is no reason why a direction of the apex court, passed a decade ago, has not been implemented till now”. It asked the states and UTs to file compliance affidavits in four weeks. 

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By John B Monteiro
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Comment on this article

  • mohan prabhu, mangalore/canada

    Sun, Dec 19 2021

    A useful, though not timely, article. Would have been more appropriate in Lent. That aside, tThe SC has gone further than what Jesus said, perhap intentionally twisted the words - and in effect, told the states to issue voter cards and ration cards to sex workers so they can continue to "live their life of sin" (SC read "leave" as "live" - my "take"). Income Tax authorities have no problem collecting taxes on the avails of prostitution (money doesn't stink), so why not give the sex workers full constitutional rights. After all, even seasoned prison inmates are not deprived of their civil and constitutional entitlements, including voting rights.

  • Rohan, Mangalore

    Sat, Dec 18 2021

    Equality and basic living amenities should be provided to everyone irrespective of their occupation. Why should society shun them? Just like anyone they too have dreams and aspirations for a better life. They too want to provide for their family. We should respect each one for their dignity of life. The court is right but it is sad to know that society didn't do it before the courts. Will not ask for cock tale today as this write up is an eye opener. It shows the mirror to the society which is hypocritical. It has different yardstick for different people. It always suppresses the weak.

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